Fundraising, Supporters

Donations instead of presents

One way to help children being treated for cancer is to celebrate one’s birthday in a meaningful way, without conventional presents. Anyone can support Gift of Life, and instead of getting presents for themselves, get donations for the children in our care.

We talked to one of the charity’s friends about celebrating for the greater good.

Nastasya Savina, a tech company marketing expert and mother of two daughters, supports Gift of Life as a volunteer fundraiser.

GOL:  Nastasya, this isn’t your first year celebrating your birthday for Gift of Life’s benefit. How do your friends feel about gathering funds for ill children instead of buying presents?

Nastasya: I’m very lucky to have the friends I do. They’re all extraordinary, wonderful, generous people. Based on how readily they donated, they liked the idea. After all, a present like that is a present to three people at once: to the person that money will help, to me, and to the donor themselves, who gains 100 karma points.

GOL: Is it convenient to run that kind of birthday fundraising on Facebook?

N: It is. Facebook makes it quick and easy to organise fundraising. Most importantly, it lets you get participants on a broad geographical scale. For example, I got a donation present from an old colleague from California, who lives very far from London and doesn’t even have any connection to Russia. Thanks to that fundraiser, his heart was able to reach mine, if you’ll excuse the pathos.

I was very happy to see donations from people both close to me and not. And, if I’m honest, everyone who supported the fundraiser, instead of passing by, gave me a little gift of love. I am very grateful to them. That kind of present definitely brings more happiness than a bouquet of flowers or some trivial material object.

GOL: What motivates you to help children or teenagers you know nothing about to overcome cancer?

N: I’ve had a lot of luck in life. I’ve had complete strangers help me with important matters or decisions, giving me intelligent advice or offering opportunities. Paying “strangers” back, if only a little, is the least I can do.

At the same time, as a mother and an entrepreneur, I have no time whatsoever for epic efforts in charity work. This kind of fundraiser is the simplest and, mundane as this sounds, the most convenient thing I can do to help.

This is the third year in a row that I’ve been gathering donations for Gift of Life through my birthday, and I intend to keep doing it in the future. I would be doubly happy if my story helped someone else decide to give their birthday this kind of meaning.

To support children in our care and raise funds instead of presents, create your fundraising page here.

For further help with your fundraiser email us at